Page Title: How to Properly Hydrate for an Endurance Event

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For many high-performing athletes, pre-competition hydration routines are built around one primary focus- avoiding dehydration. You need to be highly aware of it as it could carry potentially life-threatening consequences if not adequately addressed. Thankfully, ensuring you maintain sufficient hydration levels during any sporting event is relatively straightforward. 

Whether you hope to explore the benefits of alkaline water regarding your hydration levels or find the perfect electrolyte supplements to keep you fueled on the day, properly researching and understanding the importance of hydration for endurance events will help you perform at the highest level. 

Why is Proper Hydration So Important?

Our bodies are made up of roughly 70% water, highlighting the importance of the liquid and its crucial role in supporting our bodies overall health and function. Without it, joints and muscles cannot move and bend correctly, and cells cannot efficiently change glycogen into fuel and energy. 

Without this transition, waste is not properly dispelled, and oxygen is prevented from traveling quickly and efficiently around your body. Many studies have shown the downfalls of dehydration and its links to poor performance, injury, and muscle soreness. Furthermore, low hydration levels can lead to nausea, fatigue, headaches, and in extreme cases, death. 

Understand the Importance of Electrolytes

Electrolytes are minerals, like sodium, magnesium, and potassium, that your body loses during physical activity, namely through sweat. These components are necessary for cellular metabolism and maintaining the balance between inter and external cellular relations. 

Without these crucial electrolytes, your body is compromised and limited when performing even the most basic tasks. When engaging in long-distance running and other endurance events, these levels are depleted much faster, so prioritizing supplemented food gels or sports drinks should be a large part of your event day food and hydration plan. 

Avoid Overhydration & Hyponatremia

Avoiding overhydration or hyponatremia (water toxicity) is highly crucial in any endurance event. The condition occurs when athletes drink too much water during exercise as they struggle to expel excess fluid due to their body slowing down urine production while they are active. 

This condition is extremely dangerous because the increased levels of fluids in the bloodstream force the body to remove some of the liquid to balance sodium levels. If you cannot urinate this fluid out, it will be forced into intracellular spaces instead. This causes the cells to swell, leading to headaches, comas, and potential death. 

While it is uncommon for athletes to ingest water levels that could lead to death, they are still at risk of developing side effects like nausea, confusion, headaches, and blurred vision. 

Research in advance where water stations will be located throughout your event, and plan accordingly to ensure you hydrate every 20-25 minutes. The longer you wait, the chances of your gut inadequately absorbing the fluid will increase, with the blood supply in your stomach being diverted to the exercising muscles. 

Consider Salt Tablets

During exercise, your body will naturally lose electrolytes, namely sodium, through sweating. While there are plenty of sports drinks on the market that contains electrolytes and can be used to supplement these levels, many endurance or marathon runners use salt tablets

It helps to balance their electrolyte levels that are being actively depleted, which can lead to dehydration, fatigue, and nausea. However, it is essential to properly research the correct way to ingest salt tablets, as they can lead to dehydration and feelings of thirst if not correctly utilized alongside an established hydration plan. 

Properly Prepare In Advance

When preparing for long-distance running events or other intensive exercises, proper hydration should begin long before the day of your event. Maintaining a constant hydration level in your everyday life is essential, conditioning your body to properly utilize your water intake. 

On the day of, you should drink at least one glass of water before eating breakfast to account for any water that your body lost overnight. For the remainder of your day, including your sporting event, you should have a well-structured water schedule that allows you to hydrate regularly based on your exercise output and environmental factors. For longer distances and practical purposes, including sports drinks supplemented with the necessary electrolytes your body needs will provide a solid source of hydration and fuel. 

Practice Strategies

When practicing for your sporting event, include opportunities to practice different eating and drinking strategies for competition day. This can consist of drinking water from a cup while on the move, accessing gels from a belt or jacket pocket, and testing the effectiveness of selected sports drinks and supplements. This will ensure that nothing is left to chance on the day.

Read the Signs

Many people are dehydrated before they become aware of it, often living in a chronic state of dehydration, despite not feeling physical signs of thirst. This is further intensified when engaging in strenuous physical activity or exercising in hot conditions. 

When dehydrated, your body will give you several signs that you should never ignore. Aside from a dry mouth, headaches, fatigue, and the general feeling of thirst, you will start to feel a tingle on your skin. The sensation is mild but is a telltale sign that your body is desperate for water.

The post Page Title: How to Properly Hydrate for an Endurance Event appeared first on Wellbeing Magazine.

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